A year ago the picture looked bleak for Flossmoor (IL) OL Desmond Bland. Not on the field but in the classroom.
Bland (6-4, 270 pounds) is the first to tell you that it didn’t look good for his chances to play college football at least right after his high school time at Homewood-Flossmoor is over. Bland needed to improve his academic standing to give himself a legitimate shot at playing on the next level. To his credit,Vance has done just that and now needs to stay on track as he heads into his junior season.
It’s not a given that he will qualify. He still has a year of hard work ahead of him. But he’s in a much better position now.
“I did the hardest work I had to do this year in the summer. Summer school has helped. Next year I’ve just got to stay on track.”
NC State’s coaches have done their homework on Bland and they must be satisfied with his progress because they have offered. They also made note of the need for him to stay on track in the classroom if he is going to have a shot at the next level.
“I talked to them after they came by to one of our morning workouts. They watched us and after that on that same day I talked to one of the coaches from North Carolina State. He just told me to get my grades straight. He said he thought I was a great player. He said he watched some of my film and was really impressed.”
Georgia State had offered Bland before NC State, but NC State plays in a major conference. He was excited about both offers and should have a lot more coming in now that his academic outlook is brighter than before. It’s brighter than it was even in the spring when NC State offered him.
Bland was supposed to visit NC State this summer but he said he’s not sure what happened to those plans. Orchestrating a trip of that magnitude with travel and the costs involved isn’t always easy. He is committed to making that visit happen later.
He has visited Nebraska and he had nothing but good things to say about what he experienced in Lincoln.
“I was there at the beginning of the summer and I’m going to Ohio State this weekend for a camp. Nebraska was a visit but I didn’t stay for the camp. It was a nice trip. I was really impressed with how they set up the run. I also liked how they help out their athletes with academics. I was thinking about staying closer to home but visiting Nebraska, that opened my eyes to going farther away to schools. If I find the right place and it’s not close to home I would still go there.”
In addition to Bland’s academic progress there could be something else going on with him that brings more offers in. He will play defensive tackle as well as offensive line this year. Coaches are already talking as though that could be a good fit for him.